HCA NEWS Mad about Hans Christian Andersen in Japan

Hans Christian Andersen is very popular in Japan. The Danish writer is acclaimed everywhere in this populous nation.

By Fie Sandfeld - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 21 October 2002

Mad about Hans Christian Andersen in Japan

Hans Christian Andersen is a popular man in Japan.  Everywhere in the populous nation, the Danish writer is acclaimed.

Hans Christian Andersen enjoys great respect among the Japanese. His fairy tales have been translated into 80 languages, but Japan is probably the country in which the old writer is most well known and read outside of Denmark. He has left his trace everywhere in Japan.

The fairy tale "The Emperor?s New Clothes" aroused such enthusiasm that it was translated and printed in a Japanese ladies' magazine in 1888, only thirteen years after Hans Christian Andersen's death.

In 1925, such a magnificent Hans Christian Andersen festival was held in Tokyo that King Christian X of Denmark named the two originators Knight Commander and Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog.

Even today, the fascination of the Japanese for the old author is strong. Every year, Hans Christian Andersen puts his name to two fairy-tale writing competitions in Japan.

In Tokyo, there is a Hans Christian Andersen company and, if you happen to come by the city of Noboribetsu on the northern island of Hokkaido, you can see an exact replica of Hans Christian Andersen's house.

In Odense's Japanese sister city, Funabashi, which is a suburb of Tokyo, Hans Christian Andersen has his own park with miniatures of houses from the Funen Village and landscapes that illustrate the writer's fairy tales.

Even the little mermaid has found her way to Japan.  She is sitting in Osaka harbor - or rather a model of the original - donated to the harbor by Carlsberg.